At the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre, there is a section titled Mine Rescue. It is a monument of sorts, dedicated to the story of Brant Webb and Todd Russell. And it’s quite an emotional journey.

Beaconsfield Mine - Recognising the Rescue
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Recognition: Beaconsfield Mine rescue site

Beaconsfield Mine Rescue

Anzac Day 2006: a day the Beaconsfield community will never forget. An underground rock fall at the local gold mine left two miners trapped and caused the death of another, Larry Knight. The extraordinary tale of courage, determination and effort in order to rescue the survivors is depicted at the Heritage Centre.

Beaconsfield Mine - Rescue Tunnel
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Rescue cage, Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre

Brant Webb and Todd Russell

A re-creation of the cage in which the miners were trapped can be accessed through a concrete tunnel. It’s a very tiny space! The thought is made even more terrifying by seeing the rocks held back by a flimsy bit of wire mesh.

Beaconsfield Mine - Underground Rescue
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Todd Russell & Brant Webb: replica cage, Beaconsfield

Media Melodrama

The saga at the Beaconsfield Mine dragged out over a tense fortnight, and each day was meticulously covered by the media. The world-wide attention the rescue generated was a story in itself. ABC Television replays and newspaper headlines shown at the museum are a reminder of the transformation of the small Tasmanian town into a broadcasting hub.

Beaconsfield Mine Rescue - Media Interest
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Beaconsfield Mine rescue dominated media outlets

Beaconsfield Mine and Tasmania

The contribution of the community is also acknowledged in the exhibit. Colleagues, emergency services and volunteers from all sectors played their own special roles in the Beaconsfield mine rescue. Some of their thoughts are printed on posters and highlight the torment of the fortnight.

Beaconsfield Mine - Emergency Rescue
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Emergency rescue crews volunteered at Beaconsfield Mine

Local Community Rescue Effort

Just as helpless friends bake for a funeral, locals and strangers alike were churning wool into a long scarf as a sign of respect for the courage and effort involved. The brightly coloured knitwear is displayed in a huge cabinet. Opposite, a banner signed by locals as a thank-you statement to the world, hangs on the wall.

Beaconsfield Mine - Rescue & Community Support
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Community support for Beaconsfield Mine Rescue

Relief, Gratitude and Respect

And impossible as it may sound, a quote from Todd Russell near the exit of the Beaconsfield Mine Rescue Room sums up the mood.

Beaconsfield Mine Rescue - Todd Russell
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Quote from Todd Russell, rescued from Beaconsfield Mine

Beaconsfield is in the West Tamar Region, about a 40 minute drive from Launceston in the north of Tasmania.

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Map: Beaconsfield Tasmania…